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October 27, 2009

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» Steep rise in Down's pregnancies

BBC News today

The number of Down’s syndrome pregnancies has risen by more than 70% over the last 20 years, University of London researchers say. The sharp rise reflects the growing number of older women becoming pregnant, when there is a higher risk. An increase in the number of subsequent abortions and more antenatal diagnoses means slightly fewer children are being born with Down’s syndrome. Campaigners say better education about the condition will reduce abortions.

The number of Down’s syndrome pregnancies rose from 1,075 diagnoses in 1990 to 1,843 by 2008 in England and Wales. Despite the higher number of Down’s pregnancies, the number of Down’s syndrome babies has fallen by 1%, from 752 to 743.

This is because improved antenatal screening means more Down’s pregnancies are being spotted and more abortions are taking place. Without the improved screening, the number of babies born with Down’s would have risen by 48%, according to the study.

The proportion of couples diagnosed with a Down’s syndrome baby who decided to terminate has remained constant at 92%, say researchers at Queen Mary.

More information can be found here.

October 1, 2008
» Accessing abortion care

I heard a fascinating programme on Radio 4 (Case notes with Dr Mark Porter). It gave an historical overview of abortion and then an update on current methods of abortion. It did not cover the ethical or moral issues surrounding abortion but gave a comprehensive view of services available. It also incorporated views of women undergoing abortions which highlihted the personal perspective of such a profound decision.


In a recent research project concerning abortion services in Wales I found that most services adhered to national guidelines (by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists), but that some women were not able to choose the method of abortion because of a lack of local services.

University of Glamorgan

I welcome discussion about this issue.